Algeria lambasted for abusive prosecution of people for alleged terrorism

Algeria lambasted for abusive prosecution of people for alleged terrorism

Algeria has been lambasted in Geneva for having prosecuted some 260 People for terrorism without any valid proof.

About 260 people are prosecuted in Algeria for acts of terrorism although they have not participated in any act of violence, said Karim Salem of the Cairo Institute for Human Rights (CIHRS) on the sidelines of a symposium organized by the center in Geneva.

According to the coordinator in charge of the Maghreb at the CIHRS, which has special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations, the victims of the prosecution have only participated in peaceful activities.

The UN special rapporteurs and various international human rights mechanisms agree that the incriminated activities do not fall within the definition of the terrorist act, he explained, refuting the allegations of the Algerian regime that there is not only one definition of terrorism.

The broad definition of terrorism means that the authorities are free to act arbitrarily against peaceful expressions of opinion, he said, presenting a non-exhaustive list of personalities who have been or are being detained, including bloggers, journalists, activists and lawyers.

The human rights activist referred to the judicial harassment against activists and systematic restrictions imposed on associative and trade union action, deploring the repeated rejections by Algerian authorities of the UN agencies’ requests to visit the country.

Several independent UN experts have repeatedly urged Algeria to revise its anti-terrorism legislation, they described as illegal as it violates both domestic and international law, allows authorities to unlawfully register people on “terrorist” lists.

In the absence of effective remedies against these listings, several of the individuals concerned referred their situation to various special procedures mandate holders of the United Nations Human Rights Council to denounce the violation of their rights and fundamental freedoms.

The Human Rights Committee had actually expressed concerns over Algeria’s definition of the crime of terrorism in overly broad and vague terms that would allow for the prosecution of actions that might constitute exercise of the freedom of expression or peaceful assembly. The Council called on the Algerian authorities to ensure that these provisions are no longer used to violate human rights.

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